Jim Valvano made this statement famous in his heartrending speech at the ESPY’s which still makes me cry every time I see the replay. He was talking about a life threatening situation where he was battling terminal cancer so to apply his famous words to a blog about coaching might be a little presumptuous but here we go.
When you coach kids you will eventually have a situation like the one I am working through now. I have a very talented player who is working very hard to break some old habits that are limiting her pitching abilities. Over the course of time she has developed a couple things in her motion that are mechanically challenging and also creating pain when she pitches. She wants to correct these issues and is really working hard to make the adjustments she needs to make so the challenge isn’t in her commitment to make the changes.
The challenge is that there are a couple things, some very small, that have become such deep seated habits that breaking them is causing us both some real headaches. So to make a long story short, we have broken down the motion and while doing certain drills that usually correct these issues she looks like a million bucks. We work really hard on the arm circle and her body positioning and during all the drills the problems appear to be getting solved. And then, we try throwing a full speed pitch with her full motion and “boom” all the old habits want to come screaming back.
So over the last few weeks we continue to try new ideas. She and her Mom have had ideas that make sense that we have incorporated. I have talked to more of my pitching coach friends in the past few months about this pitcher that any other time in our lives looking for suggestions and ideas and answers. We keep applying these ideas and drills to our lessons but there is no nice way to say it, we haven’t found the answer yet.
Now here is the point of this blog, three letters, yet! I will keep trying new ideas until we find the key ingredient that makes it click, I will keep harassing my friends for ideas and suggestions as long as it takes. I will keep looking at videos on Youtube from all the pitching greats who have offered their expertise about pitching until we figure this out because I have come to one profound conclusion.
It will take as long as it takes! And I will keep working on this project until it is complete. I owe it to this player to “Never Give Up” on her and her quest to become the best version of herself she can be.
Comments? Questions? suggestions?